University of Wisconsin–Madison

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a type of off-campus employment authorization to pursue an opportunity directly related to your declared major(s). Course enrollment is not required for OPT. There are four types of OPT, all of which are described below.

ISS has produced an OPT workshop for pre- and post-completion OPT applicants to complete prior to receiving the ISS OPT application. The OPT workshop is available for self-registration in Learn@UW and is offered in person once per month.

The schedule for upcoming, in-person OPT workshops is:

Date Time Location
Monday, September 11, 2017 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym
Monday, October 9, 2017 4:00 PM Red Gym – check TITU for room number
Monday, November 13, 2017 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym
Monday, December 11, 2017 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym
Monday, January 8, 2018 4:00 PM Red Gym – check TITU for room number
Monday, February 12, 2018 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym
Monday, March 12, 2018 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym
Monday, April 9, 2018 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym
Monday, May 14, 2018 4:00 PM Masely Media Room, 1st floor Red Gym

You may also be interested in learning more about UW-Madison alumni currently on post-completion or STEM Extension OPT in our OPT Profiles.

  • Pre-Completion OPT

    Pre-completion OPT is employment authorization to begin and end prior to your I-20 end date. Students are encouraged to review the CPT vs. OPT handout. Additional information is provided in the ISS OPT Workshop required for all F-1 students who intend to apply for pre-completion or post-completion OPT.

  • Post-completion OPT

    Post-completion OPT is employment authorization to begin and end after your I-20 end date. Additional information is provided in the ISS OPT Workshop required for all F-1 students who intend to apply for pre-completion or post-completion OPT.

  • OPT/H-1B Cap Gap

    The OPT/H-1B Cap Gap is a possible extension of an authorized period of post-completion or STEM Extension OPT for those students whose employer has filed an H-1B petition and change of status (not consular processing) on their behalf by the April deadline.

    • If the EAD card is valid at the time of H-1B filing, legal continuation of status and employment through September 30th – see OPT/H1B Cap Gap Request form
    • If the EAD card is expired at the time of H-1B filing, but you are in your 60 day grace period, legal continuation of status (not employment) through September 30th 
    • Rejection, denial, or revocation of the H-1B petition results in the end of status and employment, but you are granted a 60 day grace period

    If you meet the first condition, your employer may request of you an updated “cap gap” I-20. You may request a “cap gap” I-20 from ISS through our online OPT/H-1B Cap Gap Request. You are required to upload a copy of your USCIS receipt notice as a PDF.

    NOTE: ISS cannot verify H-1B petition statuses in SEVIS. All questions regarding the H-1B process, including advice on travel during the cap gap period, should be directed to the employer.
    ISS is unable to assist in the H-1B filing process or immigration counseling related to the H-1B process.